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Milton teacher's book halps children learn about, understand racism



Michelle Dias, a Milton resident and Grade 4 teacher at Queen of Heaven Catholic Elementary, was deeply affected by the video of George Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Dias found it heartbreaking, and her two sons had questions about the events happening in the world. In response, Dias wrote a children's book called "What Can I Do?" to help kids understand some of the complex events taking place in the world.


The book tells the story of an 11-year-old girl and her best friend Serena, who is Black, through the girl's eyes. Dias highlights terms children may have heard, such as Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter, using analogies to explain them. For example, she compares it to a house on fire, where the house that needs attention is the one on fire.


Dias pitched the story and made a deal with British publisher Pegasus Publishers, which illustrated the book for her. The finished product exceeded Dias' expectations, and she hopes the book will start important conversations. She plans to write more children's books in the future.


"What Can I Do?" is available for purchase online at Indigo.ca, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble, ebay.ca, worldofbooks.com, and pegasuspublishers.com. While Dias isn't expecting to be the next J.K. Rowling, she hopes her book can inspire meaningful conversations about important issues.


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